Facebook offers a number of excellent marketing and customer services options for savvy businesses.
As a marketing tool, the platform has changed drastically over the years. It has evolved from a cost effective and easy tool for reaching new and current customers to something far more complex. During this article, we hope to help you understand more on how you can leverage this tool in your business. We also want to help you understand the challenges of using Facebook to market and help you decide if certain features are right for your business.
Here are 5 things you need to know about Facebook today.
Customer Service Tool
Facebook is a useful tool for customers to communicate with you and find useful information about your business. The platform is an easy way for customers to find your contact information, read reviews and research your company in one convenient place. It also offers a number of communications tools, such a messages and chat. Many tech savvy customers are making their first point of contact with companies over their Facebook page.
We recommend regularly taking some time to audit your Facebook page for accurate contact details, reading and responding to reviews and answering messages that come in. We also recommend assigning your Facebook page to one or more staff members that can be responsible for these functions. When assigning Facebook access, please ensure that you maintain administrator access and assign staff members a lower level access, in order to maintain control of the page in the event of change in staffing.
Facebook rates your page on the average time to respond to customers who send messages to the page. It is important that you are reading and responding to these messages in a timely fashion.
The days of Facebook as a cheap and easy marketing tool are long gone (organic Facebook marketing). It used to be relatively easy to build an audience and engage with customers. However, Facebook has regularly changed the way in which users see content in their feed. There are now algorithms in place that make it harder for your content to appear in news feeds. This is a deliberate action taken by Facebook in order to push companies towards paying for customers to see their content. The easiest way to accomplish this is to “boost” your posts. We recommend setting a monthly budget for this task. Our rule of thumb is that if your content is worth taking the time to post, it should be worth spending some marketing dollars boosting the post. Often times, without a boost on your posts, very few, if any, followers of the page will see the content. This is a simple process where you click on the “Boost Post” button on your post, select your target audience and your budget. For beginners, we recommend sticking to targeting “People who like your page and their friends”. This is a great way to reach the people most likely to have an interest in your page. More advanced uses may be to target new customers based on their interests and demographics.
Developing an organic Facebook presence is a difficult task requiring regular posting and a creative and dedicated staff member. It requires constant work to create new content, measure success and iterate. Users who have engaged with your content in the past are more likely to see your content, so it is important to keep up your momentum when building an organic presence. Allowing time to pass without posting engaging content will lower your engagement ranking and you will reduce your ability to appear in news feeds.
For many businesses, Facebook marketing may not be the best option for them. Many reasons such as lack of time, no dedicated staff resources or understanding of the platform can make it difficult. A rule of thumb to remember is that if no one is engaging with your content, it is very likely few people are seeing it. It is important to always be posting content that gets engagement from your users. You can use the amount of engagement to measure success. If your content is not getting any engagement, you should change your approach, or re-evaluate if Facebook marketing is a good fit for your business. While all businesses should have up to date Facebook pages, it isn’t a requirement for all business to use the platform as a marketing tool.
For businesses that choose not to invest in building an engaged Facebook audience, the platform offers many paid advertising opportunities that rival traditional forms of advertising in terms of cost and effectiveness. These may be a great avenue to explore to get the word out about your business.
Content is king, as the saying goes. It’s important that your content is valuable, entertaining or informative to your audience. With the advent of smart phones, photos and video have become accessible tools to everyone. It is important to invest time into creating relevant content for your audience. This could be anything from highlighting community participation, to industry tips & tricks, to lively content about your team. It is easy to gauge if your content is working by simply measuring the amount of engagement. It is important to make sure you are constantly measuring and iterating your approach to content to ensure your following is engaged and growing. Content that is not engaging with your audience should be dropped or changed to try to elicit a better response. Pages who regularly post content that receives no engagement may be wasting their time speaking to an audience that just isn’t there.
Photos and videos are the best way to create engaging content. Other options are sharing blog posts on your website, or sharing relevant news stories or other 3rd party content for your followers.
It is crucial that you take your Facebook reviews seriously. This could easily be a deciding factor for many potential customers. Encourage your happy customers to leave reviews on your Facebook page (among other platforms). This helps your digital presence in a number of ways, such as search engine optimization (SEO). Take the time to carefully respond to any negative or constructive reviews.
Remember, that when responding to a review, the reviewer is not the audience. Potential customers will want to know how your company handles unhappy customers. We recommend you keep all responses to negative/constructive reviews positive, apologetic and offering them to come in to discuss the experience so you can improve it. Always avoid being defensive or argumentative. A business who publicly handles mistakes well is seen to be trustworthy by those researching potential service providers.
How to hire outside help
There are many companies out there who can help you develop a great Facebook presence. However, we caution you that there are just as many companies that should be avoided. The world of online marketing changes very fast, and not everyone has kept up with the times.
We recommend your Facebook be maintained internally by staff, while seeking outside help to train and mentor your staff on how to be effective on the platform. While it is easy to hire outside help to maintain your Facebook page for you, it is difficult for outside parties to understand the ins and outs of your business. It is easy to put a lot of time and expenses into tactics that just aren’t working. If you do decide to work with outside help to develop and post content for you, it is very easy to measure their effectiveness. Take time to look at your page on a regular basis to ensure that content is being engaged with and your followers are steadily increasing. Be on the lookout for service providers who aren’t able to easily demonstrate evidence based results.
We hope these tips will be helpful as you explore the world of using Facebook as a tool in your business. With the right skills, approach and patience, you can see incredible results on Facebook.
Becci Taylor, BBA Marketing and Program Coordinator